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Body Donation Facts

Have you ever wondered what it would entail for your body to be donated upon your passing? Today, we are sharing information regarding body donation. It’s an area that is not widely talked about, so we wanted to bring it to the forefront.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to donate your body, including your final wishes, financial considerations and purpose.

The short version of the body donation process is as follows. You register in advance. Upon your death, your family contacts the school you registered with, and at that time, if your body meets the necessary criteria, they will handle all expenses of picking-up the body. They typically utilize the body for a period of up to two years, at which point, they will then cremate the body at their expense and return it to the next of kin, or upon the request of next of kin, the cremated remains may be interred at their facility.

The main benefits of body donation are naturally the help and training it gives aspiring doctors. The additional benefit of removing the financial burden off of the family is also considered a benefit to some. Additionally, if you do register to donate your body but change your mind, you can cancel your registration at any time.

The biggest draw back to donating your body is that your family cannot have a service with the body present. You can have a memorial service, without a viewing. And in some cases, they will allow for immediate family to have a closed viewing, much like an identification viewing. The family would be required to pay for a service, death certificate and monument, if they wish to have these.

There are several New England schools that accept body donations, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical School (DMS) in Hanover, NH. DMS only accepts body donations from those who have pre-registered themselves. Additionally, at DMS, as with most other schools, you cannot separately donate organs to other organizations; you must donate the entire body.

To learn more about DMS’s Anatomical Gifts Program, please visit their website at:

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